Members of the Roman Catholic and CSI communities hold a deep reverence for the sanctuary of God. They aspire to see His house adorned with grandeur. However, within the Pentecostal group, the belief is that the house of God is not confined to a physical structure; rather, we ourselves are considered temples of God. Wherever we gather, His divine presence is felt. However, it’s essential to acknowledge a crucial aspect: God designates a place for His name, which He calls “My Name”. It is a spiritual principle that as we look up to that place bearing the name of God, it is a source of pleasure to God.
The Pentecostal perspective acknowledges the freedom to gather in any setting, even humble or unconventional spaces. However, the house bearing the name of God should be a place that everyone would look up to. Cultivating such an attitude towards the house of God is important. The house of God should not only be our focal point but also a place that draws the world’s attention.
In the Old Testament, during the journey from Egypt to Canaan, the people erected the Tabernacle in the wilderness. All twelve tribes positioned their tents to face this tabernacle so that every home was oriented towards it. God intended for them to regard His house with utmost reverence and look up to it as it bore the name of God. He held it in a special regard. We should establish a profound connection with the house of God and take pride in the place that carries His name. We must adopt an attitude that seeks to elevate it further. God takes pleasure when He sees our hearts turned towards it.
We should strive for excellence in all that we do for God. The house of God, which bears His name, should look the best. When our hearts are primed for grandeur and great deeds, our lives undergo a transformation, and blessings pour forth as we earnestly pursue this goal. God extends His blessings and recognition when we possess a heart driven by the exemplary desire to serve His name.
2 Chronicles 2: 5-6 “5The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods.
6 But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?”
In the verses above, Solomon emphasizes that the temple he intends to construct will be magnificent, reflecting the greatness of our God who surpasses all other gods. When we envision our God greater than any other, we look up to the House of God. It’s important to always envision the House of God as a place of excellence and unparalleled quality. Constructing a dwelling for God doesn’t imply confining Him to a specific location. Solomon used silver, gold, and precious metals in building the House of God, not to confine God but to demonstrate His greatness. Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool. However, the church serves as a place where we offer sacrifices to Him.
In the Old Testament, it involved animal sacrifices, while in the New Testament, it pertains to the sacrifices of our lips through praise. We don’t go to church to meet God as He is in us. Rather, it’s a place where we come to present our offerings and extol Him, and as such, it should stand as exemplary to our God. Solomon adorned the House with gold because it symbolizes bearing the name of God, and it’s imperative that we align our minds with this profound understanding.
A HIDDEN KEY TO SUCCESS
2 Chronicles 2:7 “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided.
Solomon’s request is for talented craftsmen to contribute their skills to the construction of the House of God. This place is dedicated to worship, and Solomon sought to adorn it with gold, silver, bronze, iron, blue yarn, and the expertise of skilled artisans. Solomon’s motivation was to transform the House of God into a pinnacle of excellence, ensuring that everyone would look up to the House of God. To live a victorious life, it’s essential for us to nurture a mindset that envisions our God much greater. This is the secret to success.
1 Kings 9:2-3 “The LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The LORD said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
2 Samuel 7:13 “He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
The above verses clearly state God conveying to Solomon that the temple has been consecrated, and while He doesn’t physically reside within its walls, He has put His name upon it. God holds this place in the highest regard, underscoring that the house is to be constructed specifically for the honor of His name.
2 Chronicles 2:8-10 “8Send me also cedar, juniper and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber there. My servants will work with yours 9 to provide me with plenty of lumber, because the temple I build must be large and magnificent. 10I will give your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors of ground wheat, twenty thousand cors of barley, twenty thousand baths e of wine and twenty thousand baths of olive oil.”
Solomon asks for the best wood and skilled people to engage in the work of building the house for God from the heathen king.
The king’s reply for Solomon’s request:
13“I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, 14whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father.
The king assures Solomon to send a man of great skill to work with other skilled workers.
After the church is built, the emphasis is now on the worship, music and the atmosphere.
Psalm 33: 1-2 “1Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
As people enter the church, the environment—including the seating, lighting, and air conditioning—should engage their senses and encourage them to forget their immediate concerns and connect with God in worship. While this may sound like emotional manipulation, it’s a means to draw individuals out of their self-centeredness and lead them to worship by contemplating the greatness of God. This process is known as building faith. Only then can we truly sense the presence of God and receive the word preached effectively. Worship is about engaging our senses and emotions. It’s crucial that we skillfully play music during worship to foster a strong emotional connection with the songs and create an atmosphere where the congregation can genuinely engage with the worship experience.
1 Chronicles 15: 16-22 16David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. 18 Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom and
Jeiel, the gatekeepers. 19The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; 20Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth, 21and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith. 22Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.
David appointed the Levites to produce joyful music using instruments like the lyre, harp, and cymbals. This music was intended to help connect on a deep level, as music is an intrinsic part of our being. Additionally, some were designated as gatekeepers to maintain order. The musicians were organized in groups and played instruments like the lyre and harp, guided by a cue sheet known as the sheminith. Kennaiah, a skillful musician, was appointed as the head Levite in charge of singing.
In those times, a comfortable home featured simple wooden furniture and a single cot. Nowadays, a typical household boasts cushioned sofas and modern appliances such as washing machines, fridges, grinders, and mixers, which are considered
basic comforts. Similarly, people have shifted from crowded buses to preferring taxis for transportation.
Initially, when speakers were introduced in churches, some criticized them, feeling that they brought worldly elements into the sacred space. Over time, they became accepted. Likewise, when churches began using woofers to enhance the music experience, there were initial reservations from a few, but eventually, they were embraced.
HARMONIZING MUSIC, LIGHTS AND TECHNOLOGY
As music evolved, so did the use of lights to enhance the visual aspect of worship, tapping into our senses. This transformation aligns with advancements in science and technology. Just as we now prefer cushioned chairs over plain ones and larger TV displays with higher pixel counts for a crisper image, our worship practices should also evolve with the wisdom that God provides.
GOD REQUIRES SKILLED PEOPLE
God wants skilled people. To attain skillfulness, God desires individuals who are dedicated, practice diligently, maintain focus, and resist distractions.
2 Chronicles 2:23-28 “23Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. 24Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God.
28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.”
The Israelites, as they brought the Ark of the Lord, accompanied the procession with the resounding echoes of trumpets and cymbals. The church serves as a place where we perceive God’s magnitude exceeding that of the world. It’s a sanctuary where we present offerings of praise through our lips, and this place should be constructed with the finest materials, such as silver, gold, and precious metals.
God designates this place in His name and delights in the worship and music. He desires excellence in every aspect. When everything is of the highest quality, it captivates our senses, momentarily overshadowing our worries and allowing us to become immersed in the presence of God. This experience aids in forgetting our problems and be transformed. Indeed, the purpose of gathering in the sanctuary is to achieve this spiritual renewal.
GOD CALLS TO BUILD
Haggai 3:1-11 “1Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 7This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 10Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
The purpose of God’s house is not to confine God within its walls but to offer Him the honor and reverence He deserves. By doing so, the Lord promises His blessings. He also highlights that neglecting the house of God can lead to a lack of blessings, where the heavens withhold dew and the earth withholds its crops.
Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to hold the House of God in high esteem. Let our hearts yearn for the place where we gather to worship Him to be a place of beauty, where worship and musical instruments are of high quality, and the atmosphere in the sanctuary is conducive to spiritual connection. Such an attitude invites people to look up to the House of God. When we maintain this attitude towards God’s house, God examines our hearts and bestows His favor upon us. He loves us for it. As we aspire to accomplish great things for God, our lives will progress, and we will bear abundant fruit and experience greatness on our personal lives.